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On Friday, Ukrainian authorities accused Ivan Stolbovoy, the mayor of Balakleya, of treason.
The Ukrainian government has accused the mayor of Balakleya, Ivan Stolbovoy, of treason, claiming that he has instigated the city council for cooperating with Russian troops. The authorities have mentioned the acceptance of humanitarian aid from Russia as one of the grounds to charge the mayor.
The office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine said that when the Russian military took control of Balakleya, the mayor had “chosen to side with the enemy.” He has been accused of agreeing to continue as mayor under the “occupation regime,” accepting humanitarian aid from Russian troops.
According to the prosecutor, the mayor convened a meeting that day, advocating “loyalty to both the occupation troops and the Russian Federation in general.” The prosecutor officer said that the major later “convened a meeting of local citizens and told them the Russian military would be distributing humanitarian aid and also that negotiations were underway with the occupiers” to re-establish public services in the city.
Since late March, Balakleya city has been under Russian troops' control. The Russian forces have reported taking the 65th Arsenal of the Ukrainian military during the battles near the town. The 65th is the largest ammunition depot in Ukraine, designed to store at least 150 000 tons of supplies. According to the report made by Russian media, much of the munition was left behind intact.
Last February 24, the Russian government launched a special military operation on its neighboring country after the Ukrainian failure to comply with the Minsk agreements. Since the beginning of the Russian operation, Moscow has demanded Kiev's designation as a neutral state and guarantees on the not membership of the country in NATO.